India and Pakistan have a film industry which is known as Bollywood and Lollywood respectively. Many famous stars with Pakistani roots have made their way to the Bollywood cinema. Film industry legends such as Dilip Kumar, Sunil Dutt, Rajesh Kapoor, Shah Rukh Khan, writer Sadat Hasan Manto, and lyricist Gulzar have roots in Pakistan before the partition of 1947 . This cross border working culture is not unique. Before the partition, these stars had origins in Pakistan, now they are Indian because a line has been drawn determining their nationality. In the last few years, many stars have moved from Pakistan to work in Indian shows partly to bridge the gap that has been created by the partition. People are the same on both sides with the same cultural and social values.
There has been a gap and animosity people feel since the Indo-Pak partition. Film actors and actresses from India and Pakistan have been trying to remove that barrier and have made some progress. A very prominent name in the Indian film industry, Naseeruddin Shah , starred in the Pakistani movie “Khuda Kay Liye ”, which got released in 2007. It was a stepping stone and since then artists from both sides have been visiting and working cross border. Cricket star Wasim Akram also went to India from Pakistan to work in varying media roles. Naseeruddin also worked in another prominent Pakistani film, Zinda Bhaag .
The Jang Group of Pakistan and The Times of India are two media giants trying to eliminate the distance. Together, they started the campaign “Aman ki Asha” (Hope for Peace) in early 2010. It has been actively working since then with the help of governments from both sides.
The recent surge of Pakistani actors arriving in India is in part due because of the wide acceptance of such cross border entertainment. Bollywood also offers a bigger platform with a professional working environment. In the movie, Khoobsurat, released in 2014, Pakistani Fawad Khan was the lead actor working alongside Indian actress Sonam Kapoor. He was very much welcomed and appreciated in India. Not only because of his movie but because of his drama series: Humsafar and Zindagi Gulzar Hai, which aired on Zee Zindagi channel. These dramas gained a roaring popularity on Zee Zindagi and social media. You can see those dramas on airport TVs and advertised on billboards in Mumbai and Delhi.
Divya Dutta is an Indian actress who has shown interest in working on Pakistani dramas. Many Indian stars have been very much inspired by Pakistani TV. The drama series that air on India television demonstrate how many similar issues there are on both sides of the border. Indian audiences love Pakistani actors and actresses.
Many singers have also worked in India and performed there. Strings is a Pakistani band including Faisal Kapadia and Bilal Maqsood. Other prominent Pakistani media talents such as Atif Aslam, Fuzön, Rahat Fateh and legendary Nusrat Fateh have also performed many times in India. Recently, many Indian artists showed interest for working in Pakistani dramas. In this context, many people get to know a lot about Pakistan, its people, and how life is like on the other side of the border. More so now than ever before, Pakistanis and Indians are interested in visiting and exploring their neighbour.
Earlier this year in April 2014, Indian filmmakers Mahesh Bhatt and Pooja Bhatt were in Pakistan to attend the National Academy of Performing Arts film festival in Karachi. They were really happy with Indo-Pak collaborations and praised Pakistani actors for their work.
Media without borders is an example of friendship and love between peoples separated only by a political border. Many more Pakistanis such as Mahira Khan, Mawra, and Imran Abbas will be making headlines in the latest up and coming movies. More projects similar to these should and will come in the future where the cast consists of members from both sides of the border; in which the sharing of story and experience can bring us closer together.
Fatima has diverse experience in and outside of Pakistan. She has her MBA - Management from Greenwich University, Karachi. She has submitted her thesis on "Significance of Communication during War and Conflict" and hopes to study abroad for her Masters in Peace and Conflict. She is currently working with an international non-profit organization and also a part of CVE activities and projects.
She can be contacted at Fatimah.firstname.lastname@example.org and tweets at @FatimahJaffery
Written by Fatima Jaffery and published on 13-September-2015